Rehab can seem like a scary and isolating place when individuals enter. It doesn’t have to be, however. When patients enter rehab with the support of families and friends, the task ahead can seem much less daunting.
If your friend or a family member has recently entered a treatment or detox Austin facility, here are several ways you can support them on this important and life-changing journey.
Learn about their addiction
No one expects that you will become an expert on every aspect of your loved one’s addiction. By taking the time to get a better understanding of their struggles and the rehab process, however, you will better empathize with them. It will also help you better understand how to talk to them and what they need. There are books, websites, and even support groups, such as Nar-Anon, available to help loved ones of those dealing with addiction.
Stay in communication
Once you’re loved one is in rehab, they will need your support more than ever. Easy and helpful ways to show that support is to call your loved one in rehab or to send care packages with items that will help them with their journey, including comfortable clothing or workout attire, toiletries, a book by one of their favorite authors, and even a favorite treat (if it’s allowed by the rehab program).
Participate when needed
Family and other close loved ones will often be called upon to play an active role in the recovery process. You need to be willing to do so. Your participation may include helping the rehab process by attending family therapy or psychoeducation sessions or hanging out with your loved one on family days. It may also include making changes at home to create a better environment for your loved one’s recovery, so they are not triggered into relapsing.
Educate yourself on the signs of a relapse
A slip-up or relapse is part of the reality of the recovery process — and loved ones need to be prepared for that. According to the National Institutes of Health, the relapse rates for people treated for substance use disorders are as high as 40% to 60%. If you are concerned that your loved one could relapse when they come home from rehab, there are signs you should be on the lookout for, including:
- They are isolating themselves
- They are experiencing dramatic mood swings
- They are angry, defensive, or anxious often
- They are associating with friends that remind them of using drugs
- They are spending time in places where drugs are commonplace
- They are withdrawing from their loved ones
- They are not sleeping or eating well
The effects of drug addiction go far beyond that of the addict — and a successful, lasting recovery will take more than the addict as well. The more you can show your support and be there for the individual, the better path they will be on to a long and happy life that is free from their addiction.